Read Time: 6 Minutes

 

The current pandemic and associated crisis are understandably causing considerable uncertainty and anxiety. People are struggling with feelings of helplessness and fear, as they try to adjust to the new normal way of life offered by lockdown. 

Of course, the media plays its role in spreading fear and negativity, with selective statistics on infection rates and death tolls, and promoting stories that further a narrative aligned with a Stephen King novel. This combined with the restrictions placed on everyday life and routine, means it can be hard to feel hopeful about the future.

I’d like to pose an alternative view. What if we stopped to look for the positives and opportunities rather than the negatives and fear? We, of course, need to be mindful that there are many who have lost loved ones, have suffered mental ill health or lost businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean we should dwell on it. 

I propose an alternative view of tasteful-positivity. Looking for the positives whilst acknowledging the pain of others. Identifying opportunities rather than focusing on the threats. The people that embrace this spirit are the optimistic-adapters that will drive the country, economy and society forward whilst the pessimistic wet-wipes try to hold us back.

In the last two months, we have seen many people reaching out to each other to provide support and reassurance. We’ve seen industries thrive whilst others suffer, and as with any period of adversity, we’ve seen ingenuity defiantly flourish in the face of hardship. 

Of course, what you will largely see in the press is not the positive feel-good stories of community and adaptability, but the defeatist gloom that gets these fear-peddlers the clicks they so desperately want. It’s toxic, and the media could not have got the tone more wrong and misaligned in this crisis. 

Impact on Business

There isn’t one business that hasn’t been affected by coronavirus. Whether it is decreased revenue (or increased!), changes to procedure and systems or the adoption of new technologies to facilitate remote working. 

If you believe in natural selection, which I do, you will understand that as a race we have survived and thrived by our amazing ability to adapt to circumstances and our environment. There is a popular notion, spread by professional naysayers and peddlers of negativity, that we are a cancer or scourge of the Earth, here to eat away at its resources. We are in fact a product of the Earth and the greatest gift we have been given is our stalwart determination and adaptability in the face of adversity and strife.

Those businesses that are viewing the situation with tasteful-positivity and are looking to create or maximise opportunity, without profiteering or exploiting, are examples of our resilience and adaptability and will be the ones that survive and thrive this difficult period. They are the ones that will evolve and overcome. 

These are the businesses that see the current situation as an exciting problem to solve or challenge to overcome, and are getting creative to turn the current situation to their advantage by figuring out new ways to serve and benefit their customers.

I came across a real example of this today. After having a conversation with the owner of a Fish and Chip Shop (diet doesn’t count in lockdown) I was impressed at how after the initial blow of lockdown, he and his team had bounced back and embraced modern channels to reopen, and in fact, have record days in takings during this period. Having been hesitant in the past to use Facebook or provide a ‘click and collect’ service, he saw an opportunity and grabbed it by the proverbials. This is a great example of someone embracing change and using digital in the least likely of traditional industries. He’s kept his business afloat (pun intended) and provided a much-needed service to his hungry customers. It was also a bloody good meal (The Village Fish Bar, highly recommended!) 

Digital Usage

As someone who has studied an MSc in marketing and is currently studying another in psychology, I’m obviously quite interested in behaviour. Particularly consumer digital behaviour.

An expected and understandable change in behaviour in lockdown is the increase in digital usage. As people stay indoors, lack face-to-face social interaction, and try to keep abreast of current developments, they are quite expectedly going to have changed the way they engage with others, find information and entertain themselves.

Recent statistics from Virgin Media show that internet usage is up 100%, a number echoed and in some cases exceeded by other providers across the globe.

In the absence of speaking to work colleagues at lunch, saying hi to that stranger in the street (only in the North of England obviously) or going out with friends for dinner, we seek to stimulate our social and intellectual needs in the digital world, and of course, social media plays a key role in doing so.

I proposed the idea earlier that there was a group of people who adapted to change, were optimistic and operated with a view of tasteful-positivity. I also posited the idea that there were those who thrive off negativity and were doing nothing to adapt to the current climate. 

I stop for a second to ask you, without prejudice or judgement, which category you feel you fit in?

Adapting to Change

The increased usage of digital channels provides an opportunity for the optimistic-adapter, the true entrepreneur. The Jack Russell Terrier of the business world (nature’s eternal optimists).

Your customers are without a doubt online. In 2019, 91% of all adults and 99% of people aged 16 to 44 in the UK had used the internet (ONS). Those individuals are now using it more than ever, more times in a day, for longer periods. 

There has never been a better time to engage your prospective customers online. As other businesses scale down their ad spend, social presence and marketing efforts, they provide you with an opportunity to tap into a captive audience and secure the market share they were too pessimistic to keep. 

Now is the time to engage your existing customers and more crucially, sweep up those customers that your competitors and other providers have abandoned, provide them with excellent value and service, and come out of this crisis with both fists swinging and a raging hard on at how well you’ve done. Not muddle through whilst your business is chipped away at. It’s time to adapt and invest, because we just don’t know how long this will last for and when it will be back (or something similar!).

What if you can’t sell your goods right now because of the crisis? Then get online, start generating awareness, conversations and leads so you can develop relationships for when you are able to! 

There will be a goldrush (or bloodbath) when the market finally makes its return (in whatever industry you operate in) for a short time at least. People will clamber for market share and it’s going to get noisy. 

If you are waiting until then to gain or resecure market share and customers, you have already lost the race. You will be drowned out amongst all the other people who’ve sat back and waited until it was ‘safe’ to engage and invest in their customers and business. The true winners will be those who have initiated and developed relationships throughout this period, have provided value and are already giving proverbial backrubs to the customers you cared about winning 7 weeks ago. 

What if I said you could get in the living room, bedroom and even toilet of your customers on a daily basis (in lockdown too!) with a highly relevant and engaging message? Would that be an interesting or attractive idea? What if I said there had never been a better time to do it? If the audience was captive and open to your messages? Would you think that sounds like a good plan? It is and you can. 

When are you going to do it? Now or when everyone else is?

This article was a long-winded way of saying…now is the time to reach your customers online, not later. An investment in digital now, will pay in dividends…quite literally.

Jack Barron

Director

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Starting his marketing journey at age 15 promoting music events, Jack went on to plan, market and execute his own events before joining the British Army and serving two front-line tours of Helmand Province. Upon returning to ‘civvy street’ he set up Rebel Marketing to provide marketing consultancy services to the events industry. At around the same time, he undertook an Events Management Degree at the University of Central Lancashire, attaining a 1st Class (Hons) Bachelor Degree, before moving to Manchester to work as the digital marketing manager for a city centre agency specialising in financial services marketing, eventually becoming their marketing director.
Whilst there he undertook an MSc in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan Unversity before reactivating and rebranding Rebel Marketing as Invoke Media in 2015. After moving Invoke Media to his hometown of Preston in 2018 to support the development and growth of the area, he has since started further studies and is due to complete another MSc in Psychology from the University of Central Lancashire.
Jack is passionate about marketing and helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive. His experience working in the fast-moving events industry from a young age, along with a strong drive and discipline fostered by his time on the front line, all contribute to the work ethic and values of the company.

In times of uncertainty, your marketing activity may be the last thing on your mind, but maintaining an active online presence is incredibly important. Now is the time to reassure customers, share positive news and provide company announcements. 

There’s a multitude of things you can be doing to keep your brand/business/organisation front of mind, aside from selling or marketing messages. 

What is Front of Mind Awareness?

First of all, you may be wondering what Front of Mind (FoM) even is. Front of Mind Awareness (also known as Top of Mind Awareness) is defined as the first brand, product or service that comes to mind in a specific category. 

Here’s a quick exercise for you, what’s the first brand that comes to mind when asked the following?

Sofa?

Coffee?

Luxury Cars?

Marketing Agency?

Soft Drink?

I tried this with our marketing assistant Nina and this is what she said:

Sofa? DFS

Coffee? Costa

Luxury car? Ferrari 

Marketing Agency? Invoke Media 

Soft drink? Coke

Chances are many of these answers will be similar, simply because big brands have curated a large mass of relevant and cohesive content, memorable adverts and have spent top dollar on advertising. 

Now, lots of small businesses don’t have multi-million budgets but there are many ways you can stay front of mind with an SME budget and achieve big brand awareness. 

5 Steps to Keep Front of Mind

Be different

Start with what makes you different as a brand. Consider what makes your company special. Is it market niche? High service level? Clearly articulate this message to customers across social media channels and email. If you’re struggling to determine your key USP’s we’d advise on performing a competitor analysis using SWOT as a framework, to learn their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This will clearly help you define who you are as a brand and your key unique selling points. A competitor analysis helps you learn the ins and out of how your competition works, and identify what they’re doing wrong and how you can do it better. We regularly run these for our own business and for our clients, and they’re a great way of keeping on top of the market, and understanding what is working (and isn’t!) for others. 

 

Connect emotionally

This is a huge one for all businesses. By doing something small, it proves to your customers that you genuinely care about them, creates memorability and it resonates with the public. If a social media feed is full of negativity, a positive post really can hit home with many consumers. How you do that will depend on your type of business but here’s one that really struck a chord with us: 

Local Preston restaurant The Silk Route delivered free food to frontline health workers. This small gesture will stick at the forefront of many customer’s minds and they’ll likely order from there again. We know where we’ll be getting our next office takeaway from 🙂 

 Of course, it is essential that you act appropriately and any goodwill gestures are genuine, and from the heart. Your customers aren’t daft and they won’t appreciate it if they think you’re taking advantage of the situation to further your own ends. 

Check with someone and see how it looks from an objective eye. We’re more than happy to help you at no cost if you just need us to look at something and give our opinion.

 

Edgar the Dragon: John Lewis…experts at connecting with their audience emotionally.

Build an email list

Building an email list takes time and a solid strategy, but it’s well worth it to be able to market to your customers and stay front of mind, with one of the most cost-effective digital marketing channels. 

Here are some ways you can build your list: 

  • Offer value-added material on your site or social to capture email addresses (a free recipe, a discount code)
  • Launch a competition on your social media or website
  • Ask your existing contacts and customers if they’d be okay going on your list
  • Put an exit-intent popup on your site

If you’ve already got a loyal following of newsletter subscribers, you’re halfway there. By emailing your subscribers regularly with fresh and relevant content, you’ll stay front-of-mind and ultimately will keep your customers’ engaged. The inbox is one of the most direct ways to connect with audiences, as long as emails are consistent and packed with value. 

 

Use consistent branding

Use any downtime your teams may have currently to re-evaluate your branding. Look at your brand identity as a whole, your website design, the look and feel of your social media channels, the quality of images, infographics. All of these contribute to brand recall. You may have the best product or service out there but if you have branding that isn’t consistent or looks poor, your business may not be front-of-mind. 

One of the key starting points for many businesses is to consult their Style Guide/Brand Guidelines. If you haven’t got one take a look at some fantastic templates. We’ve created two versions for you to look at, see the corporate style HERE or the more modern style HERE.

The Style Guide will act as your bible for all things branding, take the time to re-evaluate your fonts and colour choices. Are there any colour contrasts? Is the header typeface legible? Something as simple as a colour can really impact your brand, according to Forbes Magazine “Color improves brand recognition by up to 80%”. Take note of some of these questions when you are looking at your branding strategy, if you do require any additional help, please contact us and we’d e happy to help.

By having a clearly defined set of brand guidelines you can ensure consistency across your marketing communications and business as a whole. This becomes all the more important when you hire new staff or outsource elements of your marketing to other businesses.

 

Create freebies

Everyone loves a freebie – either a free trial, free download, free eBook or free advice. It’s a great starting point for brands to connect with a consumer on the buyer journey. Once you have their trust there is a much higher likelihood that they will buy from you or re-engage with your services again. Please do ensure that this tactic is part of an overall marketing strategy, to effectively manage your results. 

Will you be trying any of the tips above? If so let us know, it’d be great to hear some success stories. 

As we like to practice what we preach, we will be providing a series of free guides, articles and resources in the Lancashire area, advising on how best to mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on their business. We will be happy to provide you with advice or help in any way that we can assist your business, just get in touch.

 

Kirsty Doyle

Marketing Executive

Invoke Media

01772 921 109

Local Businesses Affected By COVID-19 Pandemic To Receive Free Support

Preston marketing agency Invoke Media offers free services to local businesses to help them survive the impact of COVID-19

Cotton Court Business Centre based marketing agency Invoke Media, are offering a range of free services to local businesses affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic, to help them survive the difficult economic climate.

The move comes as the future of tens of thousands of businesses in the county is brought into question as a result of the pandemic and the associated measures aimed at curbing its spread.

Free support for Lancashire based SMEs

The services are being offered free of charge, and without a catch, obligation or any attempt by the agency to sell services. The charitable move comes as Invoke themselves suffer in the current climate of uncertainty.

Invoke moved their business to Preston from Manchester in June of 2018, in part, to support and be a part of the growth and development of the Central Lancashire area; a move that Invoke Media director says has been massively beneficial to the business.

 

 

Jack Barron, Director of Invoke Media said:

“We moved the business to my home town nearly 2 years ago to be a part of its growth. Financially it was the best move we could have made, and we have been working with some amazing clients from the local area. There’s a great business community around here and we have a lot to be grateful to Preston and Lancashire for.

I think now is an opportunity for us to pay back into the local business community and local economy when it needs it most. We’re here for the long haul, that’s got to be through the tough times as well as the good ones. Now is the time to get stuck in and help others in the area who find themselves struggling or set back because of recent events”.

Many businesses have found themselves without cash flow, and have therefore stopped marketing or disengaged with their agencies. Invoke Media intend to provide an alternative option, that allows businesses to stay at the forefront of their customer’s minds without any financial burden.

Their ability to provide these services free of charge is owed largely to a comprehensive business continuity and resilience plan written earlier in the year. Key members of the team will not be furloughed, instead, any additional capacity created as a result of COVID-19 will be put to use helping the local business community.

Invoke Media Director Jack Barron

Jack Barron added:
“We aren’t expecting to onboard any new clients over the next three months at the very least, and we ourselves have been hit hard by recent events, with 80% of our revenue disappearing within a week. What better way to use the capacity generated over the coming months than to help others and build bridges in the local community.

We have been humbled by the kind acts of other businesses and we’d like to pass that goodwill forward”.

Services include group conference calls with local business owners, one-to-one support and consultancy, social media management, marketing health checks and much more.

The services are available immediately with monthly reviews. Some services are expected to be in high demand, so you are advised to enquire as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

 

 

 

To take advantage of the offer visit: http://www.invokemedia.co.uk/coronavirus-business-assistance/

Press Contact
Kirsty Doyle, Marketing Executive
Invoke Media

Email
Kirsty@invokemedia.co.uk

Telephone
01772 921 109

Not on Instagram yet? Been a while since you updated your Facebook page? You’re missing a trick! Social media marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways of reaching your audience, as well as building brand loyalty. If you’re serious about providing your customers with the very best possible experience, as well as raising your visibility among your target audience, social media is a must. We’ve put together a few of the points that prove social media is an absolute essential for successful restaurant marketing.

1. Social Proof

Customer feedback and reviews create social proof, building trust in your brand. In fact, reviews are one of the key drivers for decision making when it comes to product purchasing, especially in the hospitality industry. With some sources suggesting that potential customers give online reviews the same weight as a recommendation from a friend, it makes sense to encourage as much public feedback as possible. Encouraging customers to share pictures of your dishes on their social media (especially Instagram), is also a fantastic way to let more people know just what delights are in store when they choose you for their next meal out.

2. Be Part of What’s Going On

From celebrating the seasons and national festivals with your audience to current world events or local news, social media gives you a unique opportunity to tailor what you offer to suit your audience’s needs, mood and expectations. It also provides an excellent chance to raise awareness of what you’ve got on offer and how it might benefit customers. Social media gives you the chance to connect with your audience on a deeper level than business.

3. Interaction & Connection

Few things build brand loyalty as much as interaction, which is precisely what social media marketing for restaurants encourages. From reviews through to comments, competition entries, features to share and more, social media posts provide prime content for your audience to engage with and feel connected to your business.

4. Keep Your Audience Informed

Whether it’s an emergency update to inform customers about an event that may impact on their visit (for example roadworks, refurbishment work, extreme weather or some other incident), a reminder to book early to avoid disappointment or an announcement regarding a time-limited offer, social media is a good way to quickly provide your customers with vital information.

5. Social Media is Cost-Effective

PPC, SEO and similar tactics all require a considerable amount of technical know-how, as well as a significant financial outlay. In contrast, social media is extremely easy to use (the majority of restaurant owners or proprietors will already have social media accounts – business accounts are no different) and also FREE. Although someone needs to put the work in by making regular posts, commenting appropriately and responding to customer feedback, social media for restaurants is an extremely cost-effective option.

Social media for restaurants is a proven way of attracting trade and increasing repeat business. Give it a go and see the benefits enhanced social media engagement can bring. Get in touch with us today on hello@invokemedia.co.uk

 

Jane Newby

Marketing Assistant

Social media is a great tool for quickly disseminating information amongst friends and seeking advice. The question is, how accurate is the advice being given?

If there’s one thing recent high profile scandals at the international level have highlighted, it’s just how easily false information can be spread through social media and the impact that can have. 

This weekend we became aware of an image being shared on Facebook, advising business owners on how their friends can invite all of their Facebook friends to like their business page in one go. 

Whilst seemingly a good piece of advice, we are urging all small business owners to STOP and consider the implications of doing so of which they may not be aware of.

Whilst we aren’t quite accusing the Russian government of distributing this image to disrupt our economy, it could very easily have long lasting negative impacts on the individual small business owners who follow this advice and share it on in good faith.

In our opinion, it’s about as trustworthy for your business as the Momo Challenge is for your children.

 

You may have seen this shared on Facebook over the last few days.

We’re aware that the business owners following this advice are likely not be marketers or have any marketing experience. Many small business owners can not yet afford to pay agencies or specialists to manage their social media channels.

Whether it’s protein powder to get muscles or Juice Plus to make money, everyone loves the prospect of a ‘silver bullet’. The shortcut to success that requires minimum effort and gets maximum results. Unfortunately there are very few of these in marketing.

It is our position as a business, and my personal and professional opinion (I’ve got a good few letters after my name, experience under my belt and successes & failures to boot) that this technique should be avoided, here is why…

Facebook Optimisation

Facebook is continuously looking at your page and collecting data on who likes, follows and views it, and who engages with your posts. 

This gives Facebook an idea of who you page is targeted at and is most relevant to, and allows them to then place it in front of more people like that.

It will show in the crowded timelines of your followers friends when they engage and also show as a recommended page to the people similar to your followers.

By inviting all your friends, and then asking them to do the same (and potentially their friends to do the same) you are essentially approaching your marketing with a scattergun approach. Your page will be populated with people who are not relevant to your business  and will therefore be presented to more people who are not relevant to your business and not likely to ever use your service or buy your product.

You are essentially sending the wrong ‘signals’ to Facebook about who your customers are and therefore instead of presenting your page to your future customers, it’s showing it to a random hotch-potch of users. 

Think of it this way. Your friends list is made up of a variety of people, from your grandma or auntie, to unknown Thai women that for some reason you accepted back in 2008.

If you own a Male clothing store and you invite all of your friends, and bless your grandma she wants to help and likes the page, then inviting all of her friends…you are essentially telling Facebook that your page is relevant to Females over the age of 80.

Now throw into the mix all the other people that make up your friends lists on top of that, such as people you’ve met on holiday, neighbours etc. and you’re giving Facebook too many ‘signals’ for it to realise a pattern. Instead of presenting your page to a highly targeted audience of Men aged 18 – 30, it’s pushed out to every man and his dog, and his dogs cousin.

There’s not much going back from that, other than going through your page likes one by one and removing them. A time consuming and laborious task that most of you won’t likely know how to do. Even then there is no guarantee that this will fix the way Facebook ‘views’ your page and optimises it moving forward.

Reach & Engagement

Having lots of non-relevant people on your page will damage the engagement of your posts and reach of your marketing messages.

Let’s for arguments sake say that you’ve taken the advice from your well-intentioned friend and invited 3000 non-relevant people to your page, and a few of your friends have done the same and you’ve gained 1000 new likes on your small business page.

These people may have liked your page as a way to support you, but aren’t relevant and won’t ever use your business. They’ve essentially done this is a ‘one-time favour’ but they’re unlikely to engage with your business again. You’ve turned into just another page on their long list of hundreds of pages they’ve liked over the years.

Reach is the number of unique people who see a post or ad. 

Facebook changed the way its algorithm worked for business pages back in 2018, meaning that the average organic reach (ie. not paid for reach) of posts dropped from around 20-30% to around 6.5%. 

So for every 1000 people that like your page, on average only 65 people will see your post.

It’s a clever business model. Get the platform known and used by businesses big and small, show some great results and then change the way it works so to get anywhere near the same reach you’ll have to pay them money through the ads platform (Don’t even get me started on the boost button, that’s a whole article in itself).

It wasn’t all for monetary gain. As Facebook newsfeeds became more saturated with content, more pictures, more posts, more videos of cats playing the piano…it became difficult for organic posts to cut through the noise. 

The way to rectify this is to look more at what is relevant to the individual (think back to my first point about the signals being sent), to encourage people to pay to target their content at people who have shown an interest in certain criteria and most crucially to this article, to look at engagement on pages and posts.

You’ve just invited 3000 people and gained 1000 people. Only 100 of which are relevant or interested in what you have to say.

The other 900 will not like or engage with your posts or page again. Essentially telling Facebook your content is rubbish and not worth populating the timelines of your other page followers or their friends.

You’ve got a higher number of followers, but a less engaged audience. Your likes and engagement are weighed against each other and you’re considered to be lower quality. Your posts reach even less people and your page isn’t put in front of as many people as it was before.

 

Get advice from qualified experienced professionals where possible. Not all of them are this good looking as this bald chap unfortunately.

So what should you do?

If you’re going to invite your Facebook friends, you should only invite those who fit your target customer profile. Your what now?

We teach people how to identify and speak to their target audience by writing customer profiles. Identifying the demographics, psychographics and behavioural traits of the people most likely to benefit your business. That again is another article in itself and we’re happy to provide you with guidance on how to do it, but for brevity think of it as this…

  • Working out what your customer looks like…their age, where they live, how old they are, are they a man or a woman (or both, who knows in this day and age)
  • Working out what the customer wants…. what problems your service provides and what objections they may have to using your service.
  • Working out where your customer can be found…what social media channels do they use, what tv shows they watch, who influences them, what books or magazines they read.

This massive simplification of the process is all you need as a small business owner to identify who you should invite and what you should be posting to get them to engage. You aren’t spending thousands on ads or writing a strategy, but if you want to know how to do it properly then get in touch!

Using a beauty salon business or nail bar as an over simplified example:

  • Female Aged 18 – 35
  • Lives within 2 miles of Preston city centre.
  • Wants new acrylic nails for a night out at the weekend
  • Has reservations about the price and usually uses someone else so isn’t 100% sold on using you
  • Their usual salon is booked up and they need these for a night out in 2 days, you have availability
  • They use Facebook & Instagram multiple times a day
  • Read Women’s magazines such as Cosmo or Vogue
  • Influenced by their friends and people they know on social media – has seen your work on Instagram.

This provides you with a rough guide on who you should be inviting to like your page. You can now go through your friends list and invite people one by one, ensuring the closest fit to your customer profile.

It might take longer than ‘inviting all’, but it will yield better results, set your business up in the long run and is a hell of a lot quicker than removing 1000 random Thai women from your page in 6 months time. 

Some Other Ideas

There’s loads of other ways you can increase the number of people who like your page or gain additional reach.

Paid social advertisements are the best way to reach your customers in our professional opinion and experience.

Paid Social Ads

The best and most effective way is to use paid advertisements. Many small business owners will not have the skill set to do this effectively and may decide to stop after their first failed attempt. My advice, speak to a professional and get some advice. 

This is how Facebook generate 80-90% of their revenue, it’s the way they want you to use and therefore is the most effective way to reach your customers on their platform. 

Invest in your business and stop looking for the silver bullet of marketing. If it worked like that, everyone would be doing it. 

 

Competitions

Run incentivised competitions from your page that use your core offering/product/service as the prize. There’s no point giving away a holiday if you’re a pie shop. You will get lots of people entering but not many of them relevant. Use your prize to qualify the entrants as your target audience. Whilst the terms and conditions of Facebook forbid you from forcing an action in order to enter (although Facebook is awash with like & share competitions) there’s no harm in asking entrants to like your page as well.

Be careful you don’t fall foul of Facebook’s rules regarding competitions, read them here: https://www.facebook.com/policies/pages_groups_events/

Face-to-Face

As much as we make 96% of our revenue from digital marketing, we still can’t stress the benefits of face-to-face communication in building your brand and business. It isn’t a scalable solution ie. you can’t replicate it at large volume in a cost effective manner, but it could go a long way to building a core audience on your social channels.

Ask your paying customers to like your page whilst you are with them face-to-face and explain how it helps you. 

Counter

The Smiirl counter can be used to register your page likes and encourage people to like your social media channels.

If you want to take this one further and you have a brick and mortar business, you could even get a Facebook / Social Media Likes & Followers counter for your premises. We recommend the Smiirl counter, even if it is a little pricey at around £350.

See them here: https://www.smiirl.com/

 

 

 

We have one in the office that we use for campaigns to show how many people have given their data. It ticks over every 15 minutes to update the number and can be linked to your Facebook or Instagram account. People love the engagement of tools like this and will like your page just to see if it works!

 

Email

If you have customer email addresses in a database, why not ask them to go over and like your page? Provide a link directly to your Facebook page and give them a clear bullet pointed step-by-step on what to do (people need to be told exactly what to do on the internet) and why it would help you. Incentivise it if you can.

Website

Add a Facebook Like button to your homepage or blog content if it lends itself to it. 

Caveats 

There are of course caveats to every rule. Certain businesses and circumstances may lend themselves to mass inviting. 

It might work in some mass markets or in a localised area…but its risky.

If you are a local restaurant owner and your friends list consists of local people, it’s fair to say that they are relevant to your page and business. It’s a mass market, everyone needs to eat after all. Where that gets a little tricky is when you have people from out of the area or local people start inviting those from out of the area to like the page, there’s no control once it’s left your hands. 

 

Have we ever used the invite all feature? Yeah!

There is some limited benefit to having page likes. They are a vanity metric in the most part and provide a level of social proof. When people see a page with 200 likes they trust it more than one with just 5 likes. It’s a psychological principle used extensively in marketing.

We are forever setting up small business pages to test campaigns or run paid campaigns either to establish new businesses ourselves or test the effectiveness of campaigns for our clients. We usually set up these pages, run a campaign for a month and close them down.

In order to get a volume of likes and quickly, we sometimes invite our personal contacts or ‘acquire’ likes from elsewhere. It doesn’t matter, because we aren’t using the pages for organic reach and we know we’re deactivating the page in the near future.

There’s likely other caveats and circumstances where using the invite all feature works and is a good idea, we just aren’t sure what they are. What we do know is they are in the minority and for most of you, you shouldn’t be doing it.

Remember people, this is the internet. People will share false information for a laugh or maliciously. Others will blindly share pictures and posts in an attempt to be helpful without checking the validity of the information they are providing.

Next time you see an image like this sharing advice for your small business, especially marketing, please please please come and speak to me or one of the team. We won’t charge you for a quick bit of advice or to provide an opinion if you’re a small business owner.

We actively support small business owners and especially those across the North of England. If we can help and even have a tiny impact and it doesn’t take too much away from our own business, why wouldn’t we help someone out who needs it?

 

Give us a shout on Hello@InvokeMedia.co.uk 

 

Jack Barron

Director

Invoke Media

01772 921 109

 

*My experience…9 years digital marketing, 15 years overall marketing & promotions. 1st Class Bachelors Management Degree (Hons) and MSc in Marketing Communications from UCLan and MMU respectively.
15 years experience running my own business. Several failed entrepreneurial attempts. Personally managed approx £9 million on paid digital ads. I’m a dog lover and therefore trustworthy.

Preston based marketing agency Invoke Media are celebrating a quadruple win after last week’s successful Prestfest event on Preston Flag Market.

The annual event is organised by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s Preston Business Improvement District (BID), with the intent of bringing thousands of party goers into the city centre to stimulate the night-time economy & celebrate the coveted purple flag accreditation.

This year’s sell-out event has surpassed all previous years in terms of attendance, economic impact and customer feedback.

The planning and execution of the event has been led by Preston BID, alongside a careful selection of expert providers from the Preston and Central Lancashire area.

Invoke saw three of our key clients involved in the event. Preston BID as the event organiser, Get Staffed providing the bar and hospitality team, and UK Media & Events as the event management and production agency.

In addition to client involvement, Invoke Media took the marketing lead for the event for the third year running, providing paid social advertisements, messenger marketing, live video streams and overall marketing consultancy & support; helping Preston BID sell 95% of its online tickets before the event.

Jack Barron, Invoke Media

Jack Barron, Director of Invoke Media said:

“It’s one of those rare occasions where we get to collaborate with multiple key clients on the same project. It was a great experience to work with like-minded people, each an expert in their own field, to put together an excellent event that has driven thousands of people into the city centre. Our involvement and that of three key clients makes this a quadruple win for us and extremely satisfying.”

He continued:

“The main reason we moved Invoke Media to Preston from Manchester was to support and be a part of the development & investment that is happening in our city, my hometown. It’s events like this, local collaboration and hard working organisations like Preston BID that are driving growth and making us a true contender in the region, we can’t wait until next year”

Mark Whittle, Manager of Preston BID said:

“Preston BID worked with a close-knit team of local trusted businesses, to plan and execute our most successful event to date. By working with Preston businesses we’ve not only ensured a sell-out, well-run event; we’ve fed back into the local economy and supported chamber members.”

The event has been authorised by BID members to return in 2020, with Invoke already lodging an interest to once again take up the marketing function for the event and continue the longstanding good relationship with the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

One of the main benefits of digital marketing in comparison with traditional marketing & media channels is readily available & accurate data on performance.

Many forms of traditional marketing rely heavily on assumptions, presumptions or sample data.

How many customers not only saw, but took action from your last newspaper or magazine advert? How many people screwed up your latest flyer and how many took notice? It’s not impossible to gauge, but it’s certainly very difficult and not very accurate.

The rise of digital mediums provided marketers and business owners alike, with rich actionable data in realtime. It’s an absolute dream for gauging success, tracking return on investment & gaining customer insight.

 

The Benefits

  • Insight into customer behaviour
  • Understand who your customers actually are
  • Track R.O.I. from different campaigns
  • Understand the value of each customer
  • Establish the cost of winning new customers
  • Make informed business decisions

 

The Problem

As digital marketing platforms evolve and become more complex, so too can the data they provide.

It’s very easy to be blinded by science, overwhelmed with insights or just not know which of the thousands of tools out there are best suited for your needs.

Even if you’re an experienced marketer, it can be hard to make sense of the data in front of you. Even more so if you’re the owner or operator of an SME with limited experience in analytics or marketing reporting. 

The Solution

Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and reporting metrics are an important first step. They help you filter out the noise of data overload and concentrate on the information that matters to your business.

Work out what matters to you, whether it’s how people people view your website each month, the number of enquiry forms you receive or calls received from your website; establish the criteria that you’re going to measure your success from.

Once you’ve established what it is you want to track, set the parameters to gauge your success and have filtered out the noise, it’s time to get to it.

Set the time frame that you want to measure your marketing performance from and start reporting! We usually find that monthly report (from the 1st day of the month to the final day of the month) is more than sufficient for most businesses we work with.

 

How To Go About It

If you’re pulling data from different sources you’re going to want to use one common means of storing it, for ease of accessing and comparison. Traditionally we used to use an Excel Spreadsheet, but we’d highly recommend you consider using Google Sheets if you’re a small business.

Not only does this allow you the ability to share an editable document with other members of the team, you’ll be able to create visually appealing charts and graphs to make the data easier to understand and translate.

Include the KPI’s and metrics you established earlier on, and get inputting that data!

 

Finally

Inputting your marketing metrics can be time consuming but it’s an important part of any marketing campaign or overall strategy.

If you don’t know how well (or badly!) you’re doing, you can’t test, adjust and pivot accordingly. How will you know if your Google Ads are worth the money you’re investing, or whether the time spent on writing your blogs is having a positive effect?

We’ve included monthly reporting as one of the key services in our marketing support packages for small businesses.

We’ll provide you with a monthly marketing report that brings together all of the data from across your marketing channels and put it into a visually appealing, easy to understand report so you can measure the R.O.I. of your financial and time investment.

For those that don’t want all of the benefits that our marketing support packages offer, we also offer the monthly reporting as a separate low-cost service for SME’s! Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

 

Jack Barron

Managing Director – Invoke Media

 

Our marketing support packages are designed to help small businesses access the high quality marketing they need to succeed. You’ve seen what’s included in the packages, but you’re probably wondering what kind of problems we can solve. Here’s a list of some of the most common problems and challenges that we solve for our marketing support customers…

Customers

 

Finding new customers

You may have a brilliant concept, provide exceptional service and having raving reviews, but none of that means anything unless you’ve got a flow of new customers to compensate for the natural churn of your customer base. We can show you how to find, attract and convert prospects and leads into paying customers using multiple marketing channels.

Retaining existing customers

Whether they turn to the competition, go out of business or just don’t need your services anymore, there’s always going to be a natural churn of your customer base. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take action to make sure that churn is kept to a minimum. We can help you identify and implement strategies that keep your customers engaged and onboard!

Maximising profit from existing customers

It’s usually cheaper and less time intensive to maximise profit from existing customers than from winning new customers alone. They already trust your business and spend money with you, and the cost of marketing is considerably less. We’ll help you identify opportunities to maximise profit from your existing customer base.

Leveraging customers for reviews & referrals

Social proof is the perfect way of easing uncertain customers minds and building enough trust in your business to purchase. Whether it’s a customer review, testimonial or warm introduction, you’re more likely to secure someones custom if they trust you can do the job; seeing you’ve done that for other people is the perfect way to do that. We’ll help you leverage existing customers to build trust with new prospects.

Creating content that your customers will love

Creating relevant website, social media or marketing material content that engages your audience is the perfect way to build relevance & trust with prospective or existing customers, removing uncertainty as to whether to use your service or purchase your product. By understanding your customers, how they behave and how they think, we can help you establish what your customers want to see or hear.  

 

Time

Effective & efficient use of time

When you aren’t fully immersed in an industry or something isn’t your speciality, it can be difficult to know where to spend your time and effort. As the old adage goes ‘time is money’, and aside from being frustrating, spending time on unnecessary tasks will have a direct financial implication on your business. We’ll help you regain your time, meaning you can concentrate on the areas of the business that need your attention the most. We’ll do this by taking on some of the technical or specialist elements of your marketing (dependent on your package) or by giving you an understanding of what areas you should prioritise.

Money

Save Money

Spending money on unnecessary marketing, using irrelevant channels and incorrect practice all cost your business money. We can advise you on the right way to market your business, or depending on the level of package you subscribe to, can even implement it for you.

Investing in the right areas

By understanding the return on investment you get from the different areas of your business and marketing, you can make informed decisions on which areas are best to invest your budget. We can help you establish what is making you the most money, and make recommendations on how to make more.

 

The consultancy sessions and monthly reports provide valuable insight into where your business, customers and competitors are at the present, so you can make educated and informed decisions on how to move your business forward into the future and achieve your goals. But what kind of questions could we answer? Whilst this list isn’t exhaustive, these are some of the common questions that we answer….

 

About Your Customers

At the core of every marketing strategy, plan, campaign and successful business is an understanding of the customer.

 

Who are my customers and where can I find them?

We help people identify who their customers are, what they like, their behaviours and how to target them with relevant marketing messages.

What do my customers want to see or read on my website?

Start creating content on your website that attracts new prospects and keeps existing ones coming back. We can help you identify what your customers want to see, hear or read.

What types of things are my customers searching for to find my website or the websites of my competitors?

We look at how people use search engines to find your website and those of your competitors.

 

About Your Time

Wasted time is missed opportunity and money lost. Value your time, use it effectively & efficiently.

 

What social media platforms should I concentrate my efforts on?

With so many social media platforms out there, it’s difficult to know which ones are worth spending your time and energy on. We can help you decide which will provide the most opportunity and best return.

What areas of marketing would be most beneficial for me to spend my time learning about?

Identify which areas are marketing are most relevant to your business and industry and therefore most worthwhile to familiarise yourself and learn about.

What things can I do to minimise the time I spend on marketing?

If you aren’t a marketer or there aren’t many people in your business, then you’re going to want to make sure you spend your time effectively and efficiently. We can help you do that.

When should I delegate my marketing or outsource?

There is no end of agencies and consultants vying for your business…but do you need them? We’ll help you assess which parts of your marketing you should outsource (if any) and who would be most suitable.

 

About Your Website & Social Media

Understanding your online presence and how effective it is.

 

Who is visiting my website and what are they doing?

Find out how many people are coming onto your website, who they are and what they’re doing when they are there.

How are people finding my website?

How are your customers finding your website and what can you do to help more people like them find you.

What can I do to generate new leads and customers from my website?

We can help you make tweaks and changes to your website and the way it is presented so it is best suited to generating you more leads, enquiries and sales.

How many people see my business each day, week or month?

Find out exactly how many people are seeing your business online across your website, social media and other channels.

 

About Your Competitors

Knowing what your competitors are doing and how they’re trying to compete with you can help you with your own plans and campaigns.

 

What are my competitors doing?

Get an understanding of what your competitors are doing and prepare or react accordingly.

How are my competitors marketing their business?

What are your main competitors doing to attract new customers? Are they running ads online? If so where and what messaging are they using?

What are they charging?

What are your competitors charging

How are people finding them online?

How many people are visiting your competitors websites and how are people finding them.

Your Money

Have an understanding of where your money is best spent and which areas of marketing are going to give you the best return on investment.

 

Which marketing channels should I be using?

Which marketing channels and mediums are the most appropriate and best use of resources.

Should I use traditional or digital marketing? Or both?

Should you be marketing online or using traditional methods? We’ll help you make the decision on how best to market your business to your customers.

What should I be doing to get more customers?

What can you do to attract and convert more customers. We’ll give you recommendations on how best to win more customers.

What can I do to make more money from existing customers?

It’s often considerably cheaper to market to and maximise profit from existing customers rather than find new ones. We’ll help you work out how to do that.

What return on investment am I getting from my marketing?

What return on investment are you getting from your marketing channels, platforms and campaigns? Let us help you establish what marketing is working and worth it, and which isn’t.

 

 

 

So we know that you’re serious

The main and probably the most important reason we ask for you to commit to an initial 3 month agreement before moving onto a 30-day rolling agreement is to ensure you’re serious about the marketing of your business. We want to qualify the people we work with as being the right type of customer, the type that has a genuine desire for developing their business and is willing to make the necessary commitments to do so.

We’ve found that customers who aren’t willing to commit to an initial period aren’t the right type of customer for us. They’re either ‘budget dumping’ to satisfy their accountant or just trying lots of different things without any genuine committed plan of action.

We don’t have the time or energy to work with tyre kickers or time wasters. We want to work with driven & hungry future success stories that can grow alongside us. We want to work with businesses we can add value to, and can add value to our own. Is that you?

 

To achieve results

We’re good at what we do, but we aren’t magicians. The marketing of your business will be an ever-evolving process, the data we collect and report will need time to collect and the recommendations and advice we give will take time to implement.

In short, we just can’t get all of the information we need, provide the right advice and implement the plans we need to to get results in 1 month alone.

3 months gives us the right amount of time to get to know you and your business, your customers and industry, and give you the advice and tools you need to achieve your goals.

We don’t want people quitting after a month with a sour taste in their mouth because they haven’t had the results they were expecting. It’s bad for them, and bad for us.

 

The cost implications

Let’s be blunt. We’re in the business of making money. Whilst asking you to stay with us for 3 months is certainly one way of maximising profit from your business, it’s more to do with the cost implications of not doing so that influenced our decision.

Acquiring a new customer to replace an old one each month is expensive, it’s far easier (and cheaper) for us to retain existing customers than find new ones. Advertising, on-boarding and initial consultations are all costly both in time and money.

Another consideration is the cost of the services we include with our paid packages. Services like Search Engine Optimisation & optimising your social media channels cost us a considerable amount. In fact the initial optimising of your website for search engines costs nearly as much as your first full month. If you left at month 1 we’d be out of pocket, so we cover that cost and spread it throughout your monthly payments. We only start to turn a profit in month 3.

 

Your potential funding opportunities

The reason that’s probably sparked the most interest from you however, is the possibility of match funding.

We’ve developed relationships with providers of government and EU backed match funding. That means that you can regain 50% of your investment in marketing support back. Sounds good doesn’t it?

To do this you often have to outlay one lump sum rather than claim it back monthly. That means if you want to benefit from match funding you will have to pay for 3 months upfront, and then at the end of the 3 month period will receive 50% of the cost back.

If you’re in a position to do so, we’re open to extending the initial period of your marketing support to 6 months or longer so that you can benefit even more from match funding. Just let us know and we’ll try to accomodate you.

If you want to find out more about match funding, visit our match funding and finance page here…